Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Clueless Guy's Experience on a DSLR Photoshoot




Often that's what you would usually hear when someone's taking pictures using a DSLR ( digital single-lens reflex ) camera. They would lug their 5-pound camera, go crazy over the fixing of the settings like shutter speed, focus, which lens to use, aperture etc. and take almost anything they would deem as artistic. That is what usually one encounters as someone who has a hobby or someone seeking a professional job like this, but when you would look at it, every kind of hobby does get it's share of critics. Everybody's a critic, or I should say everybody CAN be a critic...

So I was surprised when I was given a chance to observe a photoshoot last Saturday by my college friends. They were supposed to be just taking photos of the sunset on the Baywalk area at the SM Mall of Asia, but my reliable friend got a "booking" from a model that they know previously and she agreed to meet us there. Imagine this: me, the most-hated ( well, probably ) person in the blogging community ( again, I'm just speculating... ) in an event that is most likely to test my ranting skills ( or skillz, even... ).

But no, I'm not one to rant senselessly this time, I'm already past that stage ( ? ) and felt that writing about what I've observed and take pictures of a "behind-the-scenes look" and what I can learn from my friends seemed a better blog post, especially with DSLR Photography drawing some flak from anyone that is able to type on a keyboard.

We met their model a bit late in the evening in a burger restaurant, and found out that the shoot is free of charge. It turns out my friend scours Facebook for any potential models with no money involved, willing to pose in front of a camera  for portfolio purposes or for something to add to their Facebook photo album. They would identify themselves as serious photographers and ask for a photoshoot appointment. Some would decline, others would agree and the "models" would refer them to their friends and in turn they could hone their photography skills better. There are instances where you can "see a lot more" from your model "anatomically" but you just have to be professional in the strictest sense or suffer the circumstances ( like a sexual harassment suit, for example )

Truth be told, there are some photographers that tag along in a photoshoot just to take pics of chicks ( wow that rhymes!!! ). You could almost get away with it w/ just a a few snapshots. But then I realized that this is also an art form in itself. It takes years of practice and dedication just to take the perfect shot, to know when to use a setting or a different set of lens. I remember the late rapper Francis Magalona having some really great photo-compositions during his time on an Elite Photography Club. I told that to my friends and they said that for every 1 or 2 good picture that you have, you have 150-300 bad ones. Which is why it is best to take a lot of snapshots to get a lot of good shots ratio.

After a brief introduction with the model and digesting some of the patties and assorted onions and lettuces that we ate, my friends took some quick shots with the model at the Baywalk area, often fooling around with the shots and making quick jokes and all. One of my friends told me that this is something like a "dry run" before the serious one. It's like checking what setting works for that particular day and all. After a few minutes of the "dry run" I immediately noticed the seriousness of the shoot, so I just observed and helped carry some of their stuff.

I asked my friend if the photographer or the model is the one who suggests what pose to take. He said it's both. I saw that on this photoshoot my friends are the one asking what pose to take for the model. One of my friends also told me that to get what you want from the model, you also need to have that mood as well. That means you must be happy if you want the model to be happy, a bit serious if you want the model to be serious, etc.

Usually photographers go to great lengths just to get the right shot. I find that true in their photoshoot. They would ignore the large number of people in the Baywalk area and their self-being for that "shot of the day". I mean they would crouch or sit on the pavement like this:

Just to get something like this:

Speaking of shots, my friends also told me that most photographers edit their photos first before showing it to the world. Nothing really drastic, really, just a few crops, resizing, lighting and some slight fixing of the  features of the model using a photo-editing software. ( Heck, I edited all of these photos you see here on my iPhone... ) And most importantly, they would place their "signature" on the photos, because very artist knows credit is very important.

So there. at the end of the day, they were happy with their photoshoot and I learned a lot from the photographer's POV. I became humbled from the experience and remembered the famous saying "Don't judge someone until you've walked a thousand miles under their shoes". Who knows, maybe one of these days I would buy my own DSLR and also take photos of some models. If I could contain my libido, that is.

Maybe I should take yoga or tai chi as well first...

- "the king"  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Assemblage of Plastic Figure Aficionados ( TAGCOM 2013 )

We all have different ways to deal with stress. Some go on vacation, meet with old friends over beer and videoke or shop for new items. Some people find peace of mind in buying new shoes, designer bags, clothing and in some weird way, new toys.

While today's economy will make you double-think of buying something "senseless" just to rekindle your second childhood, there is a sense of awe, amazement and wonder when you buy your favorite cartoon character when you were just 6 years old or your favorite superhero, immortalized in plastic.

I always have that feeling when I would go on my usual toy-hunting sprees on the yearly toy conventions or when going to Toys R Us, Toy Kingdom or the famous Greenhills Shoppesville place. I was hoping to get that same feeling or get some good toys to update my collection when I attended the 6th TAGCOM Toys and Hobbies Convention at the Robinsons Midtown Mall Atrium last Sunday, April 7, 2013.

Wow. Imagine my disappointment. TAGCOM 2013 was the "dryest" toy-selling event that I've ever been to. And I've been to a lot.

So there I was, I took the LRT ride and went down on the Pedro Gil Station. I heeded the handful of warnings made by fellow toy collectors to not to go there as it is "walang kwenta". "ang tumal" and "isang oras LANG ako umikot tapos umuwi na". I thought I could use the "down time" and check out what's new  around the toy-collecting community.

As usual I expected a huge crowd when I entered the mall, especially since Sunday is reserved for cosplay competition. For those not in the know, cosplay is "costume play", where you "dress up" as your favorite character ranging from anime, cartoons, videogames, comic books and even famous people ( if audiences would get it, that is. ). There is a very large community on cosplay, believe it or not. There are avid followers of famous cosplay personalities. ( read: stalker )

I shrugged the cosplay-lovin' crowd as I am not much of a fan and went straight to the several tables selling their toys. There are hot wheels, DC Universe Classics, Marvel Legends, McFarlane, Lego, Barbie, Gundam, NECA, Revoltech, FIGMA, Monster High, Hasbro, Tomica and so forth. Yet despite the many categories, after 30-40 minutes I already went to the last table and said "YUN LANG??!!!" There were a couple of "usual-merchants-that-are-always-present-at-conventions" that are notably absent, like Comic Odyssey, "that Anything-Coca Cola-related-merchant", and RADJJ Toys ( the latter if I'm not mistaken got bad raps from collectors so was booted out for the convention ) and 3 spots were selling make-up, wigs and the like for the cosplay community.

Honestly, there wasn't much to buy, either I've already bought that kind before or there really wasn't much to choose from. I only bought 3 hot wheels, a Marvel Legends Nightcrawler figure and a DC Universe Classics Cheetah to complement my recent Wonder Woman figure. All costs only 1080php. Wow. Usually I would spend 2-4k on these conventions, but I was ( pleasantly ) surprised with my few hauls. Heck, I could have gotten more when I would go to Shoppesville instead.

I wanted to check out the displays as well, but I wasn't able to as there was a huge crowd gathering since the cosplay competition has already started. I tried to check the displays a couple of times, but I really wasn't able to. If I went a bit earlier, I would have seen them. Alas, I had to resort to checking it out at my Facebook friend's photo album.

( credits go to fellow collector Joshua Parreno Basa for the following pics of the display cabs. click to  enlarge )
hairy wolverine

custom jordan figures
film props...
20k barbie for boys hehe peace. 

doomsday vs superman 

There was also a competition for Gundam-maker enthusiasts, there were a handful of collectors sharing their stories but I don't know much about them to appreciate it as much as I appreciate Marvel Legends.

All in all, I got some good finds but the event is very disappointing for my taste. Here's hoping that June's Toycon would make up for it.

- "the king"